It’s incredible how the whole mood of the sports world can just shift from excitement to devastation. Usually this will happen to one teams’ fans if their team loses, but this time it was everyone. On Sunday the entire sports world held a teary eye as we witnessed Louisville’s Kevin Ware suffer a grotesque compound fracture to his leg on national television.
With six minutes and thirty-three seconds left in the first half of Louisville and Duke’s elite eight matchup, Ware leaped to try and block a three pointer by Tyler Thornton, but as he came down his lower right leg snapped in half. The bone protruded from the skin and quickly sent every spectator into a state of horror. The image that is still stuck in my head is of the Louisville bench, all at once, cowering in fear and shielding their eyes as they noticed the gruesome injury bestowed upon them. I myself had been in the shower during the injury and returned to my room to find my friends just in utter shock. Ware was being carted off at the time and I knew something horrible had happened, but I just hoped it was not the worst case scenario, which it was.
Thankfully, last night we got word that he had undergone successful surgery on his leg; and he even was going to attempt to make the trip with the team to Atlanta. Now we must hope no infection develops which would complicate the recovery process. Unfortunately, during my senior year in high school my good friend suffered a very similar injury in a varsity soccer game. As he and the goalie were going for the ball, the goalie accidentally slid into his leg causing a similar compound fracture that Ware suffered on Sunday. After the initial surgery, two infections developed which caused more surgeries to be performed. It took ten procedures for him to completely rid the infections and get his leg back to full health. He is now completely back to full strength and is playing sports again, but the recovery process was a long and grueling one to endure. In order to come back from such an injury one must find that inner strength and determination that is needed to will the body and mind to return. My friend, Jake, willed himself to do that very thing and is now scheduled to return to the soccer field during Memorial Day weekend, which at one point seemed like an impossible thought.
Ware seems like he is determined to comeback better than ever, and it clearly is possible if he works as hard as Jake did. The Louisville back-up point guard was coming on strong of late and quickly becoming a vital part to the teams’ success. As soon as his teammates noticed the injury they burst into tears, including the coaches. No one wants to see that happen to anyone, and even the Duke side displayed similar emotions. The injury was more than enough for the Cardinals to rally and win the game, but once Ware went down he called over his teammates and told them, “Win the game.” It’s crazy how the guys’ lower portion of his leg was dangling, and all Ware was concerned about was the game at hand. Sometimes we can’t control what happens to us, sometimes it’s just part of life, and we have to bounce back and deal with what life throws at us. Ware understands this and will come back from this tragic injury that he was dealt. The only thing Louisville can do now is win the whole thing for him. Just two games separate them from that goal, and hopefully Kevin is there in Atlanta on Saturday rooting them on.
The whole sports world stopped on Sunday night. No one cared who was winning the game and no one cared about their brackets. They all just took a little time out of their lives and prayed for Ware and his family, because sometimes there are just more important things than the game itself.